(traditional Piemontese dessert, literally meaning “cooked cream”)
2 cups heavy cream,
1 cup whole milk
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon unflavored powdered gelatin
2 tablespoons of cold filtered water
1 vanilla bean pod
In a saucepan, combine the gelatin and water and let stand for a couple minutes. Heat the water-gelatin mixture over low heat until dissolved, then remove from the heat. In another saucepan (this one a bit larger), combine the cream, milk, and sugar, and bring to a boil, stirring incessantly. Remove from the heat, stir in the gelatin mixture and, with the back of a knife, scrape in the delightful inner contents of the vanilla bean pod. Stir. Divide the mixture into 8 half-cup ramekins (or 4 one-cup ramekins). Allow to cool at room temperature and chill for six hours or overnight. To serve, immerse the ramekin bottoms in a bowl of hot water for a few seconds. Run a knife along the edges of the panna cotta and invert the ramekin onto a plate. Serve with your favorite fruit, caramel, or wild flight of fancy.